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College of Nursing dean plans to leave position


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Suzanne Van Ort, UA College of Nursing dean

By Irene Hsiao
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 12, 2000
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The search for a new dean in the highly-acclaimed UA College of Nursing is underway.

Dean Suzanne Van Ort plans to continue her administrative duties until a replacement is found, but will to step down at the end of June.

J. Lyle Bootman, dean of the College of Pharmacy and head of the 11-member search committee for the new dean, said the committee is still in the middle of reviewing applicants and nominations and will be screening the candidates in the next few weeks.

There are several other nursing programs across the nation looking foT–r new leadership besides the UA.

"Unfortunately, we're working against several key deanships around the country," he said.

Bootman would not reveal the number of candidates because the committee is still in preliminary stages. The members started meeting this fall.

Van Ort announced her resignation from an eight-year term last summer to go on sabbatical. Her leave will last to the end of next fall semester.

Van Ort, a UA alumnus, plans to remain in Tucson to study new learning methods involving technology, and plans to incorporate them into her teaching when she returns to the University of Arizona next year.

"It was my personal decision (to leave the position) and part of my personal goals," she said.

As one of the departments under the Arizona Health Sciences Center, the UA College of Nursing has around 400 undergraduate and graduate students and 60 faulty members.

The program has limited enrollment, taking about 50 undergraduate students per year. The academic curriculum is rigorous and admission is highly competitive, Van Ort said.

She doesn't believe many changes will take place when she leaves since James Dalen, the vice president of health sciences, will remain in his position. Also, the goals and plans for the college are already in place, she said.

Although Van Ort is not taking part in the national search for dean, she said the new dean will have to work with the current standards.

"(The type of person in mind is) someone who can begin now based on the achievements of the college and move it forward," she said.

The college "achieves excellence" by meeting the health needs of Arizona and ensuring the quality of undergraduate, graduate education and research, Van Ort said.

She added that there is a strong tradition in the 42-year-old program with faculty and staff councils and a student organization.

"I think the new leader needs to be excited by that kind of governance," Van Ort said.

The college is ranked sixth out of 491 nursing programs around the country and in the top five percent in graduate programs that offer master's degrees. Van Ort credits the favorable rankings to the quality of faculty and students and the community's involvement with the school.

"Our public is very supportive of us, which makes a difference," she said.

The program is also well-known for its research and graduate students in the nursing field.

Dalen said Van Ort's decision did not come as a shock.

"She's been an outstanding dean, and I'm glad she's remaining on our faculty," said Dalen, who is also dean of the College of Medicine.

Her eight-year stint is long compared to average dean of the nursing college, which lasts around three years, Van Ort said.

"I'm pleased to be part of the college," she added. "I think there are so many exciting challenges in nursing education, it's been a time of progress."

This search is the latest in recent changes at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, where administrators are also searching for a new College of Medicine dean.

The committee will be interviewing candidates for that college within the next few months, Dalen said.

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